Finland’s Kiira Korpi skated to victory at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf on Saturday, after winning the silver last year. Viktoria Helgesson of Sweden and USA’s Melissa Bulanhagui took silver and bronze, their first medal at this event. This was also Bulanhagui’s first senior international event.
Korpi has chosen Evita for her new long program, and the role suits her well. However, the Finn wasn’t yet solid on her jumps. Like in the short, she downgraded her planned triple toe-triple toe to a double-triple, then she popped the Lutz and later doubled a flip.
On the other hand, the 2007 European bronze medallist produced two triple loops, a triple Salchow and a double Axel. Two spins were awarded a level four. The layback spin was nice but she didn’t hold the positions long enough and received a level two. Korpi earned 162.88 points.
“I think I put too much pressure on myself to do the difficult jumps,” the Finnish skater said. “I was nervous because I did this program for the first time in competition. I tried too hard, but I’m happy that I was able to hold the program together and I maintained the feeling and the atmosphere. I also did the rest of the jumps.”
The choreography was done by David Wilson and he will come to Finlandia Trophy and polish the program with Korpi. She is happy with her choice of music.
“At first I was a little afraid, because everybody knows Evita,” she confessed, “but this is a strong, emotional and powerful music, and more dramatic than the short program. I like to have a different mood.”
Helgesson, who stood in fourth place after the short program, moved up two spots although she struggled with some jumps as well. The Swede landed three triples, but the Lutz and the flip were not clean and the double Axel-double Axel sequence was wobbly as well. Nevertheless, she still ranked second in the free skating and accumulated a total of 145.92 points.
“It is a good feeling,” Helgesson said about her placement. “My goal here was to do two clean programs, but there were a few mistakes. But it feels good to do the program like this in September. The program wasn’t clean, but there weren’t any big mistakes.”
Bulanhagui skated last out of the 13 competitors. Her routine to Sergei Rachmaninov’s popular 2nd Piano Concerto included two triple Salchows and a triple toe, but the American under-rotated her triple Lutz and flip, and landed forward on the second Lutz which was downgraded. The 20-year-old finished fifth in the free skating, but held on to third place overall with 133.72 points.
“I’m brining home a nice souvenir,” Bulanhagui commented, smiling. “I made a lot of mistakes towards the end, but overall I’m pleased with how I did.”
Joshi Helgesson, Viktoria’s younger sister, fell on a triple Salchow and cheated a triple toe to slip from third to fourth at 132.08 points.
Jenna McCorkell from Great Britain hit four triples, including a Lutz, and was ranked third in the free skating. Overall she moved up two spots and came in fifth at 130.45 points.
Canada’s Diane Szmiett remained in sixth place.
Sarah Hecken of Germany, who stood in eighth after the short, withdrew citing injury. She is suffering from an inflamed disc in her back.